Environmental Affairs Minister Dr Edna Molewa on Friday gazetted, for implementation, an amendment to the Financial Provisioning Regulations (FPR) for prospecting, exploration, mining or production operations.
The amendment has been published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (Nema).
Molewa initially published the FPR to regulate the arrangements related to making financial provision for costs associated with the remediation and rehabilitation of impacts to the environment associated with mining activities.
As a result of continued discussion with stakeholders, the Minister published proposed amendments to the FPR in November 2017, which included an extension of time to the oil and gas industry to comply with the regulations for public comment.
The Minister has now gazetted this extension for implementation, which will allow the holders of existing offshore exploration and production rights – who applied for such rights prior to November 2015 – an extension until February 2024 to comply with the FPR.
The extension is necessary as the activities of the sector are both capital- and risk-intensive and the industry will require more time to make the necessary adjustments to their current financial provisioning arrangements.
Additionally, this extension has the effect that the financial provisioning arrangements for the offshore oil and gas industry, with rights applied for under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act prior to November 2015, will continue to be managed under the existing financial provisioning arrangements until February 2024.
The rest of the comments received on the proposed amendments to the regulations that were published in November 2017 are still under consideration.
Further amendments to the current FPR to deal with other matters of implementation raised by the industry, as well as other governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders, may need to be published for another round of consultation in the near future.
Until further amendments are effected, the 2015 Nema FPR is in place and regulates the mining industry.